Friday, February 29, 2008

GM for Victoria is a travesty of democracy

The Brumby government removed the GM moratorium that was in place in Victoria for the last five years. I attended a vocal protest on the steps of the Victorian parliament on Thursday 28 February 2002 that raised community concerns about:
  • the contamination of traditional farmers crops with genetically modified plants such as GM canola
  • inadequate food labelling legislations which means the consumers cannot know if products they eat contain GM products - which means consumers do not have a choice
  • the lack of government research into the safety of GM foods - in spite of evidence that GM foods have caused serious health problems in rats
  • herbicide resistant genes from GM canola spreading to wild brassica weeds - making them resistant to existing herbice control measures
  • the difficulty for transport and processing plants to segregate GM canola from natural canola - leading to possible contamination of all canola and other food products
  • the government not listening to and respecting a clear majority of Victorians including farmers, food processors and shoppers who want our farms and foods to stay GM-free
  • Victoria losing its clean green status for food production, which will compromise export markets.
GM giant corporations such as Bayer and Monsanto will benefit from this Brumby government policy while ordinary Victorians do not support it.

I call on John Brumby to release information on how many submissions and letters the government received supporting GM canola compared to those who opposed it. The Brumby governemnt should be governing for Victorians, not global companies and agribusiness interests.

The rally speakers included:
  • Stefano De Pieri, Chef and restaurateur
  • Scott Kinnear - Biological Farmers of Australia
  • Kelly Donati - Slow Food Victoria
  • Tracy Bartram - comedienne and radio host
  • Jessica Harison - South Gippsland against GE
  • Frances Murrell - MadGE
Politicians present were Tammy Lobato (Labor MP), Greg Barber and Sue Pennicuik from the Greens and Peter Kavanagh from the DLP. Greg Barber addressed the crowd.

Scott Kinnear, Tammy Lobato and Greg Barber

Tammy Lobato MP at the protest

It was encouraging to hear such a broad range of speakers oppose the introduction of GM canola and the lifting of the GM moratorium in Victoria, and incredibly dissappointing that the Brumby government has chosen to do this.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

I am sorry

I am sorry for the hardship and suffering inflicted upon the stolen generation of indigenous Australians.

Kevin Rudd's speech and motion in parliament today was inspiring and long overdue. I strongly endorse his speech and approach towards both saying sorry to the stolen generation and taking real bipartisan action towards addressing the ongoing problems facing indigenous Australians.

Consultation and engagement with indigenous Australians will be key to improving key concerns facing communities such as employment, education, health, infant mortality, life expectancy and substance abuse.

We need to cease paternalistic interventions and work together towards real and lasting solutions and improvements.

We have said sorry and acknowledged the hurt and suffering of the stolen generation and those others so deeply affected by them being taken. Now it is time to move forward, set real goals and and take some real cooperative action to close the gaps between indigenous and other Australians.